The 2021 NFL draft is two and a half months away. With free agency looming followed by the NFL draft in April, the Steelers will have a plethora of decisions and moves to make before making their first draft selection. Because the NFL combine will not be held, pro days are the best option to get player information. It will be interesting to see what limited information ends up being available in regards to draft prospects this year.
When talking about mock drafts or NFL free agency, you have to first identify the team’s main needs for the offseason. Before any gains or losses in free agency, there are some who would like to see the Steelers go with either offensive line or running back with their first-round pick. Others feel tight end or linebacker could be on top of the list. With plenty of chances for the Steelers to shape their roster prior to April, their goal is usually to get into position to draft the best player available rather than target a specific position. When it comes to what position the team will select with their first pick, it is certainly up for debate.
In the latest two-round mock draft by Elite Sports NY, they have the Steelers going running back with their first pick and upgrade the position with the expected departure of James Conner. With only players on rookie contracts being the norm in Pittsburgh, the Steelers will likely address the position at some point in the 2021 draft. Since the Steelers could go in any number of directions with their first selection, it is important to look at all the possibilities presented by various mock draft outlets.
Check out the Steelers 24th pick:
24. Pittsburgh Steelers | Najee Harris | RB | Alabama | SR |
Harris is a versatile threat that was a rare case of a backfield rusher who played all four seasons in Tuscaloosa. A tall and upright runner, Harris is a blend of power, determination, and versatility as both a between-the-tackles runner and perimeter rushing threat. A comfortable pass-catcher out of the backfield, he’s made strides in his pass-catching ability every season. A running back that can have passing concepts designed around his abilities, he can routinely put second-level defenders in a bind with schemed patterns to attack coverage. A runner that always seems to fall forward when taking on contact, he’s a highly determined and physical rusher who forces defenders to tackle him to the ground through the echo of the whistle. Harris isn’t a running back who contains multiple gears, as he’s a flat-footed runner that paces his way through defenses. Another key attribute on his resume is his ability to finish drives with touchdowns. Few match Harris’ will and “want to” with getting into the endzone, as he led the country in scores in that area last season.
Ideal Role: Featured top option running back.
Scheme Fit: Multiple scheme fit in both man/gap/power and zone-based blocking scheme.
For all you who are preparing yourself for the draft, what do you think of the selection? Would you be on board with the Steelers taking Harris with their first pick? Or do you feel there is a better player at this position or a different one who may still be available? Personally, I believe the offensive line is more the key to an improved running game. It’s not that the Steelers taking a quality running back would be a bad thing, it’s that investing a first-round pick at the position is typically reserved for a player the Steelers would ultimately want to keep for longer than their rookie deal. The last running back drafted by the Steelers who signed a deal past their rookie contract was Verron Haynes who was drafted 19 years ago. Although it would not be the typical Steelers first-round pick, maybe it’s time to do something different.
As always, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and remember these mock drafts are merely speculation and caused to create discussion among the fan base.